In the beginning, digital signage was just that: Digital displays that converted signs from a physical format to a digital one. Thanks to advancements in technology, however, digital signage has gone beyond being merely useful to a meaningful form of consumer engagement.
With this development, companies and organizations have an unprecedented opportunity to create functional content and drive positive customer experiences in creative ways.
Society has readily adopted digital engagement, coming to expect top-quality interactions with companies and organizations. This, coupled with a convergence of advertising and communications, makes for exciting prospects in the digital signage industry.
Keep Pace with Technology & Trends
Right now, technology outpaces what we can do with it. In other words, marketers can be as creative as they want, but today’s digital signage technology requires more than just “keeping up.” Thanks to a mass adoption of touchscreens and other accessible interfaces, people do more than “take in” digital signage; they interact with it.
Recent research from marketing firm APS Group shows that twice as many shoppers interact with digital signage than with static forms of messaging. This alone provides enough rationale for businesses to invest in digital signage, but the possibilities also speak for themselves.
There are two trends to watch in digital signage: targeting and social media integration. With so many consumers owning smartphones, it’s not surprising that potential customers take to social media before making a purchase or entering a store. In fact, the Pew Research Center estimates that nearly three-quarters of online consumers use social media. Retailers are already using social media outlets to enhance customer engagement, and digital signage is primed to support the cause. For example, a retailer may display its social media account handles in the store, offering discounts or special deals to customers who follow or like them.
Digital signage also has the potential to enhance the customer experience by providing entertainment and information. Retailers can, for example, put digital signage near checkout lanes to make the wait seem shorter. Many taxis, such as those in New York City, have digital signage to keep riders informed and entertained in traffic.
Leverage Big Data to Personalize Messaging
Another big trend in digital signage is hyper-personalization. Thanks to big data, we can tailor messaging more precisely than ever before. The Internet of Things (IoT) and big data provide unprecedented access to the minds of consumers. Facial recognition software has the ability to apply demographic data to passersby, while eye-tracking software collects further analysis to add to the aggregate data pool.
We’re at a crossroads in technology, where even digital signage can take advantage of the hyper-personalization trend. In the not-too-distant future, I envision us adapting messages directly to consumers using information based on individual buying preferences.
Hyper-personalization relies on the connection between digital signage and mobile platforms. Mobile is the next logical progression in the digital signage movement; companies and organizations will soon be able to analyze consumer behavior to send targeted messaging straight to mobile devices via Bluetooth.
In business, timing is everything. Perhaps one of the most exciting ways big data and IoT are poised to help the digital signage movement is by ensuring the timely delivery of messaging. For example, based on aggregate demographic data, retailers can change signage messaging for populations that frequent their stores at different times of day. In other words, you can reach your customers when they’re most likely to make purchases.
Separate Fact from Fancy
The future of digital signage is bright, but also raises some privacy concerns. For example, consumers may not be willing to release information about their browsing histories. While hyper-personalization and targeted messaging seems like a great idea in theory, businesses will have to tread a fine line to ensure they’re not alienating customers.
When used effectively, digital signage is – and will continue to be – a driving force in consumer engagement. —Dan Newman, Cofounder of V3*Broadsuite
Image by: Sira Anamwong